Sunday, January 31, 2016


i bet you don't often expect to come here and find vivid colours staring you down...

i love bright, but i rarely work with it - not sure why exactly because i really do like it, but i suppose if push comes to shove, soft and muted will always win

it's nice to change it up now and again though, and especially easy when doing silk ribbon embroidery

 i'm teaching a class next month and as i pondered what the "thing" should be (project class vs simply a technique class)

i decided on a fancy work needlecase

i love my needles, my treasured friends - have you ever thought about what an absolutely amazing invention it is? with this little thing we can do so much?

it boggles my mind

anyway - i love cecile franconie's style and even ordered one of her books - all the way from france

yes, it's in french but stitchery has it's own universal language and i've managed just fine

even to the point where i no longer consciously translate the directions - i love that

 this case is a series of pockets, which are the perfect size to slip a package of needles in

 the sides will fold in, and then in again and there will be some kind of closing device but i haven't any idea what yet

i'm still deeply entranced by all this colour, and beautiful flowers and leaves

i thought the one below was my favourite

and then i did these little roses
(this one is my own design)

and a new favourite was born

who would believe one simple stitch could make these little delights?

 so - the easy part is done and now for the putting it all together - i have to say if feels like a bit of drudge after all the fun i've had with the flowers

but all play and no work... and all that

 "the flowers that grow may fade and wither, but the ones that i stitch will live forever..."

Monday, January 25, 2016

little birds

the sun is shining today and the little birds are flying about, busy as bees

we've had a few warm days and the snow is melting - that, coupled with a few good downpours have turned my herb garden into a birdbath and as i sit here at the kitchen table, the sun streaming through the windows, drops of water are fluttering through the sky creating rainbows on my keyboard

it's wonderful to watch...

inside, little birds have taken over my sewing room as well

i'm teaching a class on stitching, patching and playing this spring

creating a design of one's own from a piece of inspiration of one's choosing

this version came from a piece of scrap-booking paper, which i've forgotten to take a picture of... something for another day...

one-half of the paper is devoted to little birds standing on each other's backs

pretty pastel birds in combinations of florals and stripes, tiny dots

the other side of the paper looks like strips of lace and ribbon

i'm making little patched and embroidered squares which are then applied to a muslin background, with more stitching and, eventually, more applique 

the tulips come from a section of the "ribbon" and this little bird can't resist them!

the strips of lace and floral fabric echo that portion of the paper as well...

the little guy below is standing on a branch, little felt leaves in soft blue and grey-green

the other two blocks are still in progress 

it's great fun, and a bit of a challenge, to look closely at something and start pulling out details to use here and there - changing it up, keeping it similar, inspired by something and then interpreting it in your own way

going out on a limb

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

it's easy if you try...

i think i've learned more important lessons in the past five years than in the previous fifty...

i've learned that the more you do the more ideas you'll get

"inspiration inspires" 

i've said that for a long time now - you never run out, you just keep getting more, one thing leads to another, and to another

i've learned that goals are only wishes when you don't have a plan - it's easy to want to be able to do something... it's an entirely different thing to put in the time, do the work, hone the skill, perfect the craft

i've learned to try

i drew these corset shapes by looking at a photograph 

and perfected them by having a rather large eraser

drawing what i saw

"draw what you see, not what you think you see"

wise words

the paper is heavy water-colour paper and my inspiration image is rather large - i needed smaller versions of the corset-shape for some design work exercises i wanted to do and the only way to get the smaller versions on to the water-colour paper was to draw them 

it wasn't easy, and they aren't perfect, but they're mine and i love them

working with pattern and shape

surface design

paper and stitch

contrasting lovely delicate lace with a cloth that has an edgy pattern

creating texture with pin-tucks

i wasn't too keen on knotting off all the beginning and ending threads and then i realized i could just fringe them

snippety-snip and lickety-split

now i have a lovely surface, all ready for some hand-stitching... i'm just at a bit of a loss right now as to what stitches i should use

i think if i do some kind of smocking, especially in the centre, it will cinch it in and emulate the idea of the corset-shape

too obvious?

i guess i won't know unless i try - and if i wreck it, i can always make another

two years ago i wouldn't have dared but now i know that something good will come of it

i'll either know what works, or i'll know what doesn't work

my mother, wise woman hat she is,  always says "nothing ventured, nothing gained"


i did get a tad carried away with my pin-tucking foot, making these three samples and then another three or four in silk - but i have lots of samples to practice on now

 and then i went back and drew one more corset and played about with cutting out shapes, applying papers that i had also pleated and stitched on, placing some on top and some underneath

looking at line, shape and colour

disassembled,  rearranged

it's a new year and there are many wonderful things to experiment with in the days and weeks and months ahead

i think perhaps i'll buy myself a few big erasers, and maybe even a spare seam ripper